Sequoia Grove Vineyards
Napa, California, USA
$32 -- Durham, NC
Color: Creamy deep red
Nose: Berries, a litle peppery but not hot
Body: Strong, but not overpoweringly heavy
Front: Berries and cream
Middle: Plum, vanilla, soft tannins
Back: Cinnamony spice
Burns clean?: Yes
This is a dangerous wine. I've had the '02 and the '03 before and this is better than both of 'em. The grapes come largely from two places I like in Napa: Rutherford (including the Morisoli vineyard, for you Sattui fans) and Oakville. It's structured but not sharply, so it's smooth; you find yourself in another taste county before you realize it, instead of being chased across the line by the oenological equivalent of Roscoe P. Coltrane as in some high-power wines. It's like a warm fire after a cold walk; a warm towel after an ocean swim; like sinking your foot into the wet sand up to your ankle....
Note: I've been thinking about this "Rutherford Dust" thing. If it's dust, it's caramel dust. How would you make caramel dust (other than, apparently, with grapes)? I don't know. But they make powdered shrimp, so I'm sure there's a way.
Note 2: I had another bottle of this 12-10-2007 and verified in vivo ex vitro that it rocks. That joke is funnier because if you are a biologist.
Note 3: It's 1 November 2009, and I'm having a bottle of the 2003, discovered high on an H.E.B. shelf, being sold a a discount. Age has given it more complexity -- a lovely sourness, to match the dark vanilla and spice that was always there -- and I'd call it a match for the 2004 now. I thought I saw the 2004 on that shelf, too, shelved in front of a bunch of 2005s...perhaps I should go back! Tonight I'm having it with this chicken dish, and the combination is solid.
Note 4: It's 25 November 2009, and I seem not to be able to avoid this stuff. Tonight it's the 2005, with a creamy blackberryness that's excellent. It's opening up rapidly, though the dust and espresso layers are still definitely there at the end of the palate.
Note 5: 1-22-2011, and I'm trying the 2007. A charming sour fruit on the nose, with a little cinnamon from the oak. The body is less powerful than I remember from before, but it's still the classic plum-cherry-chocolate. The dust is not evident, for some reason. Also they changed their label for the worse.